ECB’s Valimaki: digital euro will not be an investment object

By Anne Kauranen

HELSINKI (Reuters) – A digital euro would allow consumers in Europe to pay with central bank money but it would not be an investment object similar to cryptocurrencies, Bank of Finland board member Tuomas Valimaki said on Thursday.

On Wednesday, the European Central Bank took a further step towards launching a digital version of the euro that would let people in the 20 countries that share the single currency make electronic payments securely and free of charge.

Valimaki said the ECB’s intention is that individuals, rather than companies, could have a digital euro account with a limit to its balance.

“It is reasonable to emphasise that digital euro is being designed as a payment method, not an investment object,” Valimaki said, adding the intention was not to move household savings from commercial banks’ balance sheet to the euro system.

Valimaki said Finland is at the forefront of payment digitalisation among eurozone member countries, with the highest use of electronic payment methods including cards and mobile transfers.

Despite an abundance of options, payments methods have become less diverse, Valimaki said.

“Power is centred to a few card companies based outside Europe, which is far from ideal in terms of resilience,” he said, referring to the dominant position of Visa and Mastercard in controlling digital payments.

Separately, the Bank of Finland is planning to introduce a Finnish instant payment solution that will be independent of payment cards and compatible with European standards.

(Reporting by Anne Kauranen; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Christina Fincher)